PHI 1600 St Petersburg College Act Utilitarianism & Assisted Suicide Discussion

Question Description

You have 3 days to complete Discussion 1 (Sep 5) and 12 days to complete Discussion 2 (Sep 14)

Divide your post into paragraphs representing the number of questions you were asked.

Discussion 1 (Due date: Sep 5!)

1. Without giving names or any other information that might identify the person, give an example of a person who you think fits either one of Kohlberg’s stages or one of Gilligan’s steps; and identify the stage/step. (Do not use a child as an example as they are supposed to be “immature”.) (150 words+)

2. Explain what it was about that person that led you to identify them with that stage or step. (Be detailed and give specific examples of what the person did or why that demonstrates the stage of moral development).

3. Read most of the other students posts and respond to at least one other student for full credit (40 words+)

For example, I think of my old neighbor as fitting Kohlberg’s Stages 5 or 6. He was a minister when I was growing up and chose to be fired from two different churches because he stood up for racial equality and justice in a time when that was not a popular stance. The leaders of one of the churches ordered him to stand at the door and tell black people they could not enter. (The leaders were afraid that someone would bomb the church if blacks and whites worshipped together. That had happened in some places.) He said that he could not do that and later we moved shortly thereafter so I don’t know where he ended up. I could share other examples about him, but you get the point.

Discussion Forum Assignment 2 (Duedat: Sep 14): Read the following case study and apply Act or Rule Utilitarianism to see what the theory would say is the morally right or best thing for Donald’s mother. Be sure to use ONE theory NOT both theories.

Example of format is Act Utilitarianism would tend to say that the mother should ______, because ________. Rule Utilitarianism would tend to say that the mother should ______, because ________. Required minimum 250 words. Remember: One original post with your theory and comments; and a minimum of 1-2 replies to others postings. (1 reply 40 words+)

Case Study: Two months after being honorably discharged from his job as a military test pilot, the world of Donald C. exploded in a flash of burning gas. He was then 26 years old, unmarried, and a college graduate. An athlete in high school, he loved sports and the outdoors. Rodeos were his special interest, and he performed in them with skill. After leaving the military, Donald joined his father’s real estate agency. The two of them had always had a close relationship, and were looking forward to running a business together. One July afternoon, they were out together appraising some farm land. Without realizing it, they parked their truck near a large propane gas line, and the line was leaking. Later, when they started the truck, the ignition set off a huge explosion. Donald, his father, and the truck were enveloped in flames. The father died on the way to the hospital. Donald was admitted in critical condition, and barely conscious. He sustained mostly 3rd degree burns over 70% of his body, both eyes were blinded, and parts of his hands, feet, arms, and legs required amputations. Heroic actions by the medical staff kept him from dying. The therapeutic treatments were excruciating. Within a week, Donald made it very clear that he wanted to be left alone and allowed to die. He refused to sign any further consent forms, and demanded to be allowed to leave the hospital and go home. “I don’t want to go on as a blind and crippled person,” he told his doctor. “Dying can’t be worse than this!” Donald’s mother fought zealously against this. She had already lost her husband, and losing her son was more than she could bear. She was also a devoutly religious person and was concerned that Donald would die “lost,” without coming back to the Church he had left several years before. There were others involved, too. Donald’s doctor, Sam Macon, was the top burns surgeon in the Midwest. He wanted Donald to keep fighting, believing that with some new surgical techniques that Dr. Macon had devised, Donald could at least be able to return home someday to live with his mother. Dr. Macon was also hoping that Donald’s case would bring some attention from the media that would help to build a new burn unit at the hospital. Donald’s fiancee, Clementine, was furious that everyone seemed to be using Donald. His mother was using him to meet her own emotional needs, and the doctor was using Donald to further his own medical career. Clementine thought everyone should leave Donald alone and let him die, if that’s what he wants. She said she just wanted what was best for Donald, and she insisted that it didn’t have anything to do with the $100,000 she was in line to get from Donald’s life insurance. Should Donald be allowed to go home to die? Should he be kept in the hospital and treated against his wishes, in hopes that his feelings might change later? In this case study the mother made the treatment decisions as Donald was determined to not be competent. How would the theory you chose tend to argue what would be the morally right or best thing for Donald’s mother to do? Why? (Remember – your post should NOT reflect your personal opinion – but the application of one of the moral theories.

This DF is a true story.

Prof. Angela


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